Army of Authors Blog Tour: Peter Mulraney


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Peter MulraneyI’m pleased to welcome Peter Mulraney, author of the Stella Bruno Investigates crime series, to the blog today!


Stella Bruno Investigates is a series of quick reads – books designed to be read in one sitting. Each book in the series only takes around an hour and a half to two hours to read. So, there’s no waiting for days to find out who did it.

The series is set in and around Adelaide, South Australia, and centres on criminal investigations led by Detective Sergeant Stella Bruno. I have the inside information on Adelaide – it’s my home town.

Stella is assisted by Detective Constable Brian Rhodes, who’s approaching retirement, harassed by Detective Inspector Frank Williams, and distracted by Shaun Porter from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In addition to all the crime, the stories also follow Stella’s developing relationship with Shaun and provide insights into her life as a single mother with a fourteen-year old son. You’ll also discover some of the benefits she enjoys by being part of an extended Italian family.

If you’ve never been to Australia, these stories will give you a little taste of life ‘down under’ where you can experience the North Wind as hot and blustery and winters without snow and ice.

A Deadly Game of Hangman, Book 4 in the series, tells the story of Stella’s investigation into the murder of a young man whose body is found hanging from a tree in Adelaide’s famous Park Lands, which ring the city centre. The killer tried to disguise the murder as a suicide but there are some things about a hanging that you just can’t hide from a forensic pathologist, like Dr Steve Wright.

The case gets a little more interesting when the body of a friend of the first victim is found hanging from a tree in Morialta Park, in the foothills on the eastern edge of the Adelaide metropolitan area, and the similarities strongly suggest to Stella that she is dealing with a serial killer.

And, just to keep you up until you’ve finished, I’ve built in a little bit of suspense towards the end.

The other titles in the series published to date are:

  • The Identity Thief
  • A Gun of Many Parts
  • Bones in the Forest

A Deadly Game of Hangman cover

A Deadly Game of Hangman is available from Amazon. 

Peter Mulraney

Universal link to book on Amazon

 

 

 


Many thanks to Peter for guest blogging.  Head over to Amazon and check out the Stella Bruno Investigates series!

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“Fractured Wings” by C.R. Lemons #ReleaseBlitz


 

Title: Fractured Wings

Authors: C. R. Lemons

Genre: Adult, Psychological Thriller

Published: November 7, 2017

Page Count: 220 Pages

Just when the time has come to spread your wings and fly on your own, life has other plans and anchors you to the ground…

Alex Sutherland has lived a charmed, small town life, which has been perfectly mapped out. As a recently engaged law school graduate, she is on the cusp of starting her new life and career in the big city. However, her carefully laid out plan is instantly halted when she is attacked while out for a run on the last day at her childhood home.

Although her physical wounds have healed, she is plagued with constant nightmares and recurring memories of the brutality. At her lowest moment, Alex finds her strongest support from Anthony Gabrielli, the FBI agent in charge of her case. Through his subtle encouragement, she takes steps to reclaiming her prior self, even though her assailant has not been caught. When she discovers she is still being targeted, she decides to face her fears and becomes determined to find out what lurks in the shadows.

This change came over me as I was confronting Danny. It felt good to stand up for myself and express these feelings of anger and despair towards him for what he did, more importantly what he did to me. Now, I yearn to be able to confront my attacker in the same way. I have to find him along with the person responsible, and it is not going to happen with me withering away in my bed. My wings have merely been fractured, and it has taken some time for them to heal. I am on the brink of soaring again, and nothing is going to stop me once I am fully recovered.

“I have such an active imagination and I truly enjoy transcribing it into words. As I am writing, the people, places, and things come to life before me and I completely lose myself. Writing is my meditation. I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Thank you and happy reading.”

After receiving a degree in paralegal studies, C. R. Lemons was a paralegal for many years until deciding on a career change of currently managing her award-winning, family-owned business.

As a child, she would sneak her mom’s romance novels and lose herself in them. She always had an active imagination and dreamt of sharing it through writing. This dream finally came true with her published catalog… a five novel erotic thriller series, Getting Him Off; her standalone novella, The Mysterious Mr. Blackstone; a collaborative Dom/sub romance novel, Naturally His; and, her two poetry collections, Naughtiness is Contagious, An Orgy of Erotic Poetry, and Poetic Nympho. For the latest list of books by C. R. Lemons, please visit her website at http://www.crlemons.com.

As an erotic thriller novelist, C. R. Lemons is a self-proclaimed occasional naughty poet. Her love of writing started through poetry in her teens. She was inspired to start writing poetry again and found a talent in the erotica.

C. R. Lemons is a native Texan who enjoys her coffee strong, her music rockin’ and her life full of laughter.

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“Her Brother’s Keeper” by Kitty Boyes


Have you ever helped out a stranger only to have it turn your normal life into something that resembles a nightmare?

Arina did.

After a dead man is discovered in one of her motel units, his only relative, an older sister, asks Arina to help her. The sister believes her brother was murdered.

Despite being dissuaded from getting involved, true to form, Arina dives in. Head first.

Without knowing exactly what she was getting into, she inadvertently puts lives on the line. Including the life of her two-year-old son, Ben.

Money laundering and multi-million-dollar tax evasion scams are uncovered. Ruthless and desperate people will do all they can to avoid detection to protect their interests. Including murder.

Book Three ‘HER BROTHER’S KEEPER’ of the Arina Perry Series takes a phycological ride on the wild side.

Released in e-book late November 2017 and in paperback late December 2017.

LINK TO THE NOVEL https://www.amazon.com/Her-Brothers-Keeper-Missing-Child-ebook/dp/B0743JS9VM

 

 

 

 

“Falling into Right (Redemption County Book 2)” by Sharon Kay #BlogTour 18+


 

Title: Falling Into Right
Author: Sharon Kay
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 24, 2017
Cover Designer: Kim Killion
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

How do you recover when life kick boxes your soul?

Becca Gable is fighting to stay on her feet after a series of crushing losses. She’s always been the good girl until the events of the past year push her to make a mistake she can’t take back. Now, her corporate finance job and her fiancée are gone thanks to her newly-acquired criminal record.

Shane Marlow survived an IED blast during his service in Iraq—but half his team did not. Physically healed, he returns to his home county as a K9 officer. The scars of loss run deep and though local folks admire him, no one truly gets him—until Becca literally lands in front of him.

Their bond of shared tragedy evolves into a connection both fiery and healing. But a stalker decides that Becca’s crime should stay front and center. As the unsettling episodes reveal that no part of her life is secret, Shane is all that stands between her and the enemy.

Shane tilted her chin up. Big, sad eyes stared back at him. Hell, he’d had that bleak feeling. The point where his heart hurt for his team, and he felt like he was facing a sheer vertical climb with no help. He dealt with it by working, running with Denver, shooting, hanging out on Redemption Hill. And he pushed the negative thoughts to the back of his mind.
But not until Becca had he realized that meeting someone who’d walked his path could make a difference. “I see that look,” he murmured.
“What look?”
“The one that says you’re at the bottom of a twenty-foot pit with no ladder.”
“Maybe I am,” she whispered. “How did you get out?”
“Don’t know if I have,” he said. “But meeting you bumped me up higher than I was before.”
Her brows knit. “How can I help you when I can’t even help myself?”
“Just being you is all you need to do.” He laced his fingers with hers. “I’m not good with words. But I’ve never met anyone who’s been through anything close to what I have—losing people too soon, and not just one—except for the rest of my team. And, uh, it’s not like we hang out and talk about our feelings or anything.”
She gave a half laugh. “Yeah, I guess not.” Light fingertips grazed his knuckles. “I still don’t know how I’m helping, but as long as you think I am, I wanna keep on with it.”
“I like that plan.”
Finally, a happy glint appeared in her eyes. “I like you.”
He grinned. “Seein’ as you’re buck naked in my bed, you better.”
“You’re bad.” She smacked his chest and kept her hand there, pushing him back. “Lie down.”
He guessed she wanted to cuddle and that was fine with him. Stretching out on his side of the bed, he held out his arms. “Come here.”
But instead, she leaned across his chest and pressed a warm kiss to his pec. Not a quick press of her lips to his skin. But one that lingered, yanking his mind to a place he hadn’t expected to go tonight. Not that he minded. “Becca?”
She raised her magnetic eyes, but not her warm, naughty mouth. Her kiss, slow and languid, ignited every inch that she touched. “Mmm?”
A hundred questions popped rapid fire into his head. Was she okay? Did she need to talk or to just be held or something? He’d never been good at comfort. But each thought was derailed by the fire in his veins. He trusted she’d tell him what she wanted.
And right now, she didn’t need to say a word.

intimate young couple during foreplay in bed

Sharon Kay writes award-winning fiction and can never get enough reading time. She loves winter and black coffee, and is endlessly inspired to write kick-ass heroines and the men strong enough to capture their hearts. Sharon lives in the Chicago area with her husband and son, and one weekend the idea for her Lash Watchers and tough leading ladies formed in her head, refusing to stay quiet until she put pen to paper. Her characters tend to keep her up at night, as they banter, fall in love, and slay endless varieties of power-hungry demons

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“Exp1re” by Erin Noelle #ReleaseBlitz


 

Numbers.
They haunt me.
I can’t look into a person’s eyes without seeing the six-digit date of their death.
I’m helpless to change it, no matter how hard I try.
I’ve trained myself to look down. Away. Anywhere but at their eyes.
My camera is my escape. My salvation. Through its lens, I see only beauty and life—not death and despair.
Disconnected from all those around me, I’m content being alone, simply existing.
Until I meet him.
Tavian.
The man beyond the numbers.
How can I stay away, when everything about him draws me in?
But how can I fall in love, knowing exactly when it will expire?

PROLOGUE
Lyra

10.18.02
The intercom crackles loudly throughout the classroom, interrupting Ms. Sherman’s rather uninspiring Friday afternoon lesson on the life cycle of a star. Even though most of the students around me are furiously jotting down notes about nebulas, red giants, and supernovas, I’m half listening while I doodle caricatures of me and my friends in the margin of my notebook. It’s not that I’m not interested in the material she’s talking about. No, that’s not the case at all. It’s quite the opposite actually; science is my favorite subject, especially anything that deals with astronomy and the unknowns in our universe.
But with a dad who is a super-smart astronomer at Johnson Space Center—or NASA, as most people here in Houston call it—I learned about this stuff she’s teaching before I ever started kindergarten. Heck, just this past summer before fifth grade, Mama and I went to visit him at a planetarium in Hawaii, where he was part of a team that discovered eleven new moons orbiting Jupiter! If I don’t ace this test next week, I better not even go home. I definitely wouldn’t be able to be an astronaut then.  
“Ms. Sherman, can you please have Lyra Jennings gather her things and come down to the office? She’s leaving for the day,” the office lady who reminds me of Paula Deen—Mama’s favorite chef—announces through the ancient intercom system.
At the sound of my name, my chin jerks upward from my pencil sketches to the standard black-and-white classroom clock mounted above the projection screen. The hands read 12:45 p.m., nearly three hours before the end of the school day, when my parents are supposed to pick me up as we head out to Dallas for the weekend to celebrate my eleventh birthday. Ooh, maybe getting out of school early was my surprise they mentioned!
I’ve been looking forward to this day since we came home from this same trip last year, and I know my parents planned something special for this year. Every birthday, instead of having one of those silly kids’ parties with pointy hats and piñatas, they take me to the Texas State Fair. There, we spend the weekend riding as many rides as possible, stuffing our mouths with sausage-on-a-stick and fried Twinkies, playing games until we win the biggest of the stuffed animals, and laughing until our faces hurt and happy tears stream down our cheeks. Hands down, it’s my favorite three days of the year, even better than Christmas. And I really, really like Christmas.
Excitement jets through me as I stand up from my desk and hurriedly cram my spiral notebook and textbook into my purple paisley backpack. If we make it there early, I’ll be able to go swimming at the fancy hotel’s indoor pool before dinner.
“Sure thing,” my teacher calls out in response. “She’ll be right down.”
Hoisting the strap of the bag up on my shoulder, I turn to leave the room and my gaze meets Ms. Sherman’s. Her warmth shines in her bright amber-colored eyes, highlighting the numbers 051123 that I see imprinted in her pupils. The same six white numbers I see every time we make eye contact. The numbers I’m not allowed to talk about. The ones everyone thinks are all a part of my healthy imagination.
But they’re wrong. They’re all wrong.
The numbers are real, and they never change or go away. I only wish I knew what they meant. Mama and Daddy—who, by the way, are the only two people I know that have the same numbers—call it my special superpower, but I know they just pretend to believe me. I see the looks they share when they think I’m not watching. They don’t want me to think about all those things the doctors say about me. I may only be ten years old, but I’m 100% sure I’m not crazy, nor do I lie for attention. I’m an only child, for Pete’s sake; my parents are overly interested in my life. Though I do appreciate their support, even if they don’t understand.
“Have a nice weekend, Lyra. Don’t forget we have a test over CHAPTERs six through eight on Monday. Make sure you’ve read all the material,” she reminds me.
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll be ready,” I reply modestly, not sharing with her or the rest of the class I’ve already read through CHAPTER thirteen in the text, including answering the study guide questions at the end of each section. I may be an overachiever, but I’m not a brown-noser.
Luckily, school just comes easy for me, and my parents get over-Jupiter’s-moons proud when I bring home straight A’s on my report card. It reassures them that I’m normal and well adjusted. At least that’s what I heard Mama whispering to Daddy on the phone one night when she thought I wasn’t listening.
I mouth a quick goodbye to my best friend, Beth, who I pass by as I scuttle toward the exit. With her last name being Blackmon and mine being Jennings, we rarely get to sit near each other, as most of our teachers put us in alphabetical order. Beth’s numbers are 022754, and like Ms. Sherman’s, they light up vibrantly when she looks up at me and mouths the words Have fun before I slip out the door.
I never want to break the rules or get in trouble, so I somehow fight the urge to sprint down the deserted hallway and force myself to walk as fast as my long, skinny legs will let me. The swishing sound from my denim shorts rubbing together fills my ears, creating a soundtrack for my excitement. My cheeks ache from smiling so big while I drop off my folders and books in my locker then make a beeline to the front of the school, where my parents are waiting for me. This is going to be the best of the best weekends ever, one that none of us will ever forget. I just know it.
Only, when I swing open the glass door to the main office, expecting to see my favorite two people in the world, I’m surprised to find my Aunt Kathy standing there, her face puffy and pink, the corners of her mouth pointing due south. Our eyes meet, and I can barely see her numbers—123148—because of how swollen the lids are around them.
The fluffy white cloud of elation I floated in on disappears instantly as a dark fog of dread takes its place. Engulfing me. Swallowing me whole. She doesn’t have to say a word—I already know. Not how or when or where it happened, but deep in my bones, I know.
I was right. This will definitely be a weekend I’ll never forget, only it will be for reasons I’ll never want to remember.
“I’m so sorry, Lyra baby girl,” she cries. “I’m so sorry. They’re… they’re gone.”
gone.
        Gone.
                   GONE.
The word bounces around between my ears, getting louder each time it echoes. The first time, it freezes my movements. The second steals all the air from my lungs. By the third time, I’m pretty sure I have no pulse. I want to go, too.
Go.
       Going.
                     GONE.
With my feet stuck to the floor and my body stiff as a statue, Aunt Kathy rushes over to me and wraps her arms around my shoulders. Pulling me up against her chest as uncontainable sobs shake her body, she breaks down in front of the receptionist and attendance clerk, neither of who bother to hide their open staring. Numb, I stand completely still while she wails for several minutes, and I never once make a single sound or try to break free from the death grip she has on me. My thoughts race so fast they’re standing still.
I’m just… here. And my parents just… aren’t. And they won’t ever be again.
They’re… gone.
Climbing into the passenger seat of Aunt Kathy’s fancy sports car—a car I usually beg to ride in because there’s no backseat—I fasten my safety belt and then close my eyes as I lean my head back on the black leather, warm from the hot southern Texas sun. Even though it’s mid-October, I’m still wearing shorts and sandals, and just last weekend I went swimming at Beth’s house. But as I sit here and wait for my aunt to start the car, my teeth chatter loudly and my entire body trembles uncontrollably. My heart is frozen solid, but I’ve yet to shed a tear.
The phone rings and I jump, automatically looking at the caller ID on the screen, thinking… hoping… praying it’s someone calling to let us know this has all been a big mistake, that my parents are really okay.
“Hey, Mom,” Aunt Kathy answers after just one ring. We still haven’t pulled out of the parking space. “Yeah, I have her now. She’s safe and sound.”
My heart plummets even lower into my stomach than it was before as she pauses to listen to Granny Gina on the other end. Granny Gina is my dad and Kathy’s mom who lives in New Orleans, where she moved about five years ago after my grandpa passed away from lung cancer. Since my mom’s parents both died before I was born, she’s the only living grandparent I have, and luckily for me, she’s a pretty awesome one. But today, nothing is awesome. Not even close.
“I don’t know. She hasn’t said a word. I’m sure she’s in shock.” My aunt talks about me like I’m not sitting right here, as I finally feel the car jerk back in reverse.
Another pause. The car lurches forward into drive then we bounce hard as Aunt Kathy flies over a speed bump. I think I’m going to throw up.
“Okay, I’ll take her home so she can pack a suitcase of whatever she wants to bring, and then we’ll go to my place until you get here. You should be in about 5:00?”
Pack a suitcase of what I want to bring where? Where am I going? Why is this happening to me? I’m a good kid. I make good grades and I’m nice to people, even those people who everyone else makes fun of, and I listen to my parents and my teachers. What did I do to deserve this? Why me?
“Yeah, Mom, I know,” Aunt Kathy hiccups. She’s crying hard again. “I’ll take good care of her, and we’ll see you later. I love you.”
I keep my eyes screwed shut as she disconnects the call, scared she’ll want to talk if I open them. I don’t want to talk to her or Granny Gina or anyone but my parents. I want my mom and dad!
Thankfully, Aunt Kathy doesn’t try to talk to me as we drive, but when I feel the car come to a stop and hear the engine turn off, she gently taps my arm. “Lyra, sweetheart, we’re at your house. We’re going to go inside, and I need you to pack up a suitcase or two of the clothes and things you want to take to New Orleans. Whatever you need.”
“New Orleans?” My lids snap open and I whip my chin in her direction. I don’t even recognize my harsh, scratchy voice. “I’m going to New Orleans?”
“Yeah”—she nods sadly as she swipes at the black mascara streaks on her face with her thumbs—“with Granny Gina. After we take care of, uh, of everything here, you’ll go live with her there.”
Scowling, I cross my arms over my chest and grunt. “I don’t want to leave Houston, or my friends, or my school. Why can’t I stay here with you?”
“You know I travel with my job, Lyra. Sometimes I’m gone a week or two at a time, and there won’t be anybody here to stay with you. Granny Gina’s house has an extra bedroom, and since she doesn’t work, she’ll be able to better give you everything you need.”
What I need and will be better for me is my mom and dad. And my perfect birthday weekend at the fair.
She reaches out to attempt to soothe me with her touch, but I wrench away, banging my elbow on the car door in the process. The whack is loud, and the place I hit immediately turns red, but my brain doesn’t register the pain. I feel nothing. I’m broken.
I glance over at my aunt, and the tears spilling down her cheeks make me feel bad for acting the way I just did to her. What happened to my parents isn’t her fault, but I’m angry and this is all moving too fast. How am I supposed to pack up what I need in a couple of bags? I want to stay in my room, in my house, living with my parents.
“I know this is all unfair, baby,” she says through her sniffles, “and I can’t even to begin to understand what you’re thinking or feeling. I mean, I’m freaking the hell out and I’m a grownup who’s supposed to know how to handle these kinds of situations. All we can do is cling to each other as family and try to get through this together. Between me and Granny, we’ll do the best we can for you, and right now, we think the best thing is if you get your things and go stay with her.”
“How did they die?” I blurt out, completely off topic from what she’s talking about. My mind can’t stay focused on any one thing, but this is the question that keeps popping up. “I need to know how it happened.”
Swallowing hard, Aunt Kathy inhales a shaky breath through her nose and blows it out through her mouth, visibly trying to collect herself before she answers me. “It was a car accident,” she whispers after forever, barely loud enough for me to hear. “I don’t know why they were together in your mom’s car this morning or where they were going, but an eighteen-wheeler lost control and hit them. They were already gone by the time the first responders arrived.”
I nod, still unable to cry. I hear the words she’s saying, but they aren’t really registering. They make sense, but I don’t understand. It’s as if I’ve been swallowed up by one of the black holes Daddy taught me about and the darkness is sucking away my ability to think, to feel. All I hear is the word “gone” still replaying over and over and over.
“Okay. I’ll get my stuff,” I say flatly, finally opening the door and stepping out of the car.
My movements are robotic, and I can barely even feel the key in my hand as I unlock the front door to my house. Stepping inside, I’m overwhelmed by a combination of the sweet smell of my mom’s favorite vanilla cookie candle and the sight of my dad’s fuzzy slippers waiting by the coatrack—the slippers he puts on the minute he walks in the door from work every night. When I realize he’ll never wear those slippers again, nor will my mom ever be able to forget if she blew out the candle when we’re about to pull out of the driveway, an acute pain shoots through my chest and I stumble over to the staircase, grabbing the banister to keep my balance.
“I’m right here, Lyra,” Aunt Kathy murmurs from behind me as she slips her arm around my waist. “Let’s just get your things and head over to my place. Later, once we’ve had some time to deal with everything, we can come back to go through the house and all the stuff… if you want.”
Another nod and I let her guide me up the stairs to my room. I want to scream at her that there will never be enough time to deal with losing my parents, that I’ll never be able to go through their things, but I keep my lips pressed together and do as I’m told.
“Where do you guys keep your suitcases?” she asks, glancing around my room as if she’s doing an inventory of what I have. “I’ll go grab a couple while you start pulling out what you want to take. If you forget something, it’s no big deal, because you and Granny are going to be staying at my place for the next few days. I can just bring you back to get it, or I can even ship it to Louisiana if you remember once you’re there.”
“They’re in the storage cabinets in the garage,” I answer while walking over to my desk, my eyes locked in on a framed photo of me and my parents that sits next to my laptop.
“Okay, I’ll be right back.”
The thud of her heels on the hardwood floor grows quiet as she makes her way back down to the first floor, and just as I grab the picture and plop down on the chair, I hear her open the door to the garage. A few much-needed minutes by myself.
I gaze down at the photograph of the three of us from a day at the beach, me sandwiched between their cheerful, carefree expressions, and the first tear finally escapes. Once the dam breaks, I can’t stop the flow, and as I trace my finger over the outline of each of my parents’ faces, I cry for everything I’ll never have again. A supernova of tears.
Faces I’ll never see smile again.
Voices I’ll never hear say my name again.
Arms I’ll never be hugged by again.
A never-ending galaxy of love that I’ll never feel again.
It’s all just… gone.
After several minutes of vision-blurring bawling, I set the picture frame back upright on my desk. A hot pink heart drawn on my calendar with the words Birthday Weekend Begins written over today’s box catches my attention. I then notice the printed numbers next to my bubbly handwriting that read 10-18-02.
Snatching the picture up again, I stare directly into first my dad’s eyes, and then my mom’s. The numbers I see when I look people directly in the eyes only happens when I’m face-to-face with someone, never in photographs or through a screen or mirror. But even though I can’t actually see the numbers right now in the picture of my parents’ pupils, their numbers are forever etched in my brain from looking at them every day of my life. I used to think the reason they had the same numbers meant they were true soul mates, like God made them to match perfectly together, but now….
My gaze flicks over to today’s date of 10-18-02, then back to my parents’ faces, where I envision their numbers—101802.
My plummeting heart collides with my lurching stomach in an explosion of realization.
It’s my Big Bang Moment.


About Erin Noelle USA Today Bestselling Author

Erin Noelle is a Texas native, where she lives with her husband and two
young daughters. While earning her degree in History, she rediscovered her love for reading  that was first instilled by her grandmother when she was a young child. A lover of happily-ever-afters, both historical and current,Erin is an avid reader of all romance novels.

Most nights you can find her cuddled up in bed with her husband, her Kindle in hand and a sporting event of some sorts on television.

“Gun Shy: A Psychological Thriller” by Lili St. Germain #BlogTour


 

Gun-Shy-iBooks.jpg



A stand alone psychological thriller.
** NOT A ROMANCE **



HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL?

In the middle of a fierce snowstorm in Gun Creek, Nevada, seventeen-year-old Jennifer Thomas disappears without a trace.

The second girl in nine years.

Identical cases. Identical conditions. Only last time, the girl was found. Dead, stuffed in a well beside the creek that feeds the town’s water supply.

The killer was never found.

As the small town mobilizes and searches for newly vanished Jennifer Thomas, one suspect comes to the fore. But did he do it? Or is there something else at play? Something nobody could have anticipated?

For Jennifer’s friend Cassie Carlino, the worst is yet to come. As she pins MISSING posters to store windows and joins the search, she begins to suspect that Jennifer’s disappearance might be much closer to her than she could have ever imagined.


Leo

I visit Jennifer every evening at the diner; she seems to like the attention, and I could use the distraction. I make sure to turn up just before her shift ends, and she gives me a ride home every night. The first night she came over we ended up talking for hours. My mouth hurt by the end, every sense on high alert. I was a gentleman. I didn’t lay a hand on her again, not after she started to talk. She’s in trouble. A lot of trouble. I think it eased her mind to be able to confess to somebody who pretty much wrote the book on trouble in this town.
I mean, there’s not a thing I can do to help the girl. Not unless she tells me who got her into this mess in the first place. “That’s the problem with men,” she said to me when I urged her to give me the name of the guy blackmailing her. “They always jump straight to problem-solving. Men always want to fix everybody.”
“You don’t want to be fixed?” I’d asked her.
“I can fix myself,” she’d replied. “I just need somebody to understand.”
I don’t understand. Her predicament is something I’ve never experienced. But I can listen. I listen to her talk as she drives me home in her shiny new car every night, and it makes me feel less of a fuck-up. I mean, she hasn’t killed anyone. But she’s planning to. And that’s why we’ve found each other. I am a killer and she is ready to spill blood. She is a welcome distraction from my sins, and I am a makeshift altar for her to lay her own sins upon. Because when I’m with Jennifer, I don’t think about Cassie Carlino. I don’t think of Karen Brainard. And, most especially, I don’t think of Teresa King and the way she burned beside me in that car.
* * *
The night Jennifer Thomas disappears is like all the rest. I go to the diner. Order nachos and a Coke. I’m surprised Jennifer is working. It’s Thanksgiving, and the place is deserted. Even Amanda is nowhere to be seen.
“Working on Thanksgiving?” I ask Jennifer, as she slides my food in front of me. She shrugs, that glitter lipgloss catching the light as she moves. “It’s just another day, isn’t it?”
I nod.
“Besides,” she says, “It pisses my dad off. I asked for this shift.”
At ten, I help her to turn out all the lights. I wait beside her as she locks the front doors of the diner, feeling vaguely worried about the fact that somebody left a sixteen year old cheerleader alone to lock up this late at night. I note the lack of video surveillance, the remote location, the fact that everyone is tucked safely inside their houses while Jennifer is alone with a convicted criminal in the dead of night.
Jennifer offers me a ride home, which I accept. Except, instead of driving me straight home like she has done for the past six nights in a row, Jennifer pulls her Range Rover off the road into an uncleared section of pine trees that tower over us. The track is narrow and winding and she doesn’t answer me when I ask her where she’s taking us.
She stops in a small clearing and cuts the lights. The engine is still running. Bits of snow fall outside, slow and bloated in their trajectory toward the ground. Jennifer’s hands are small as they grip the steering wheel; her eyes lit up by the red illumination of the dashboard, making her look almost demonic.
“What are we doing here?” I ask her again.
“I don’t want to go home,” she says staring straight ahead.
“Fair enough,” I reply. I watch her as she struggles to find words. She squirms in her heated leather seat, her nails shiny and perfect, her shoulders sagging under the weight of something I cannot see.
“Do you think I’m pretty?” she asks me in a tiny voice, and she sounds so mouse-like and weak that I almost laugh.
“Do I think you’re pretty?” I echo, feeling a smirk cut its way across my face. “Jennifer, you’re so pretty I could die just from looking at you.”
She rolls her eyes. “You think I’m stupid. You’re just here because you feel sorry for me, Leo.”
I shake my head. “I don’t think you’re stupid. And I’m not here because I feel sorry for you.”
She swallows thickly; I can see the pulse beat nervously in her throat. “Then why are you here?”
“Well, I guess I’m here right now because you just drove us off the road and into the woods.”
“You know what I mean.”
Do, I, though? I sigh. “Because you’re the only person in this town worth talking to who will even look at me.”
She bites her lip and I have the sudden, piercing urge inside my skull to wrap my hands around her throat and drag her onto my lap. That’s some messed up shit. She’s sixteen. Six. TEEN. I’m repeating the number in my head over and over, willing my dick to settle down. I can feel the throb of wanting her in my cock, in the thunderous rush of blood that makes my heart hit my ribcage like the firing of a gun, bang, bang, bang. My need eclipses my rationality. So what if she’s sixteen? She drove into this fucking clearing and licked her lips and asked me if I thought she was pretty.
“Why have you been back to the diner every single night, just as I’m about to get off shift?”
“Umm,” I try. “It’s the only decent place in town?”
She narrows her eyes at me and there’s a fire inside her pupils; it might be below freezing outside, but it’s a billion degrees in here. We’re already fogging up the windows with our breath, and I haven’t even laid a finger on her.
“Liar,” she says. “I want the real reason.”
You’re about to get the real reason, sweetheart. I grip the armrest. I grip it so hard my fingernails ache.
“I’m here because I’m a bad guy, Jennifer.”
“And?”
“Because you’re so pretty I can’t think about anybody else. Because I want to do things to you… that would probably frighten you. Things that might hurt you.”
Her cheeks are flush; her breathing quickens. I haven’t even touched her, and she’s already excited. Or scared. Or both. I want to reach between her thighs and see if it’s lust I’m reading on her face.
“What kinds of things?” she asks.
I cover my face with my hands.  
“What kinds of things?” she repeats, a hand on my shoulder. I let my hands fall into my lap and fix my stare on this girl who should be home with her family, not out here in the dark in the woods and snow with a criminal. I watch in awe as she slides her seat back and reaches her hands up underneath her skirt, tugging a pair of panties down her legs and unhooking them from her heels. She can’t look at me as she hands me a pair of baby blue silk panties with a bow on the front. I grip the underwear in my fist so tight I could tear it to shreds with a single pull, but I don’t rip it. I find the damp spot of arousal in the center of the material and bring it up to my face. I close my eyes. I breathe Jennifer in.
I shouldn’t be here. Not with her. Not like this. I will get out of the car, I decide. I will walk home. I will not touch this girl.
But then, “I promise I won’t tell anyone,” she whispers.
Fuck.
I grab her. I drown her shock out with my mouth. I squeeze her slender neck with my prison-rough palms. I keep my promise and I hurt Jennifer Thomas until I’m sated.
It’s only after when I’m looking at the blank expression on her face, the odd tilt of her neck, the bruises blossoming on her spread thighs, that I understand what I have done.
By then, it’s too late.
The night Jennifer Thomas disappears is like all the rest.
Apart from the way it ends.

Lili writes dark, delicious romance full of love, lust and revenge. Her USA Today Bestselling Gypsy Brothers series focuses on a morally bankrupt biker gang and the young woman who seeks her vengeance upon them. The Cartel series is a trilogy that explores the beginnings of the club, published through HarperCollins.

Lili quit corporate life to focus on writing and so far is loving every minute of it. Her other loves in life include her gorgeous husband and beautiful daughter, excellent coffee, Tarantino movies and spending hours on Instagram.

She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write.
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“Search for Maylee” by Didi Oviatt #BlogTour


 

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Search for Maylee by Didi Oviatt

Genre: Thriller/ Suspense-Thriller

Publication Date: October 6th, 2017

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Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do whatever it takes to either bring Maylee home, or to deliver the justice she deserves.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36213694-search-for-maylee?from_search=true

EXCERPT:

Nervously, Autumn hurried to the door. Before opening it, she took a quick heart throbbing look out the peep hole. There he was, the man she had spent her evenings swooning over while listening to the steady hum of his voice over the phone. A man that she once detested, and now ached for. There were so many things she wished could be different about this moment. She would have prepared herself, dressed nice and fixed her hair – probably up and swept from her face. She would have picked something with a low neckline to wear, lathered her skin with her silkiest lotions, and even taken the time to shave. Everything…

Rather than the romantic reunion Autumn had been anticipating, she was being forced to see him in dreaded conditions of her own, and clearly of his too. It was going to take everything she had to shoo him out of her apartment. She had every intention on telling him all about Josie, but not until she had the time to speak with her first. Josie needed to warm up to Autumn, and rest. That wouldn’t be a possibility if she was thrown to the wolves before even being able to catch her breath. Autumn had to keep Josie a secret, at least for tonight.

Chance stood outside the door waiting impatiently. It’d been a long trip, he’d caught the first flight possible after hearing news of another sighting of Maylee. Right there in Denver nonetheless. It was time to be completely honest with Autumn, and he had to do it in person. Anxiously, he held his breath as her metal door creaked open. All he could do was come clean about his lies and pray for her forgiveness.

Their eyes locked and for one brief moment they were the only two people in the world. Josie, Craig, Jeremy, and even Maylee faded into mere background. The sharp gray shards of color in his eyes pierced through her, and she drank in their naked vulnerability. There was a sense of surrender in the upward pull of his brows. It was a look she was yet to see plastered on his handsome face, a look that melted her from the inside out.

As she welcomed him in, the sexy familiar scent of him threatened to consume her. It smelled like spruce bark and ocean mixed into a fresh rustic blend, and it followed him into her apartment, her heart, her future. They had opened up to each other in a way that there was no turning back from. Even if it had only been by phone. No matter what he had to say, there was sure to be a way around it. Autumn was confident of that.

PURCHASE LINKS:

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AUTHOR BIO:

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Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. She’s a suspense novelist, and magazine columnist second. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians(a trilogy to be). Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and bathing in the desert heat plays an important part of her day to day lifestyle.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Suspense Author & Book Blogger

didioviatt.wordpress.com/

amazon.com/author/didioviatt

www.facebook.com/didioviatt

twitter.com/Didi_Oviatt

www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DidiO

www.goodreads.com/author/show/7207389.Didi_Oviatt

Columnist/writer for Conscious Talk Magazine

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